Byron York comments on second thoughts by a former second in command of the CIA:
“Mr. Trump continues to exhibit paranoia about American intelligence agencies,” wrote the ‘Never Trump’ conservative Max Boot in the New York Times a week or so before the president took office.
“Consumed by his paranoia about the deep state, Donald Trump has disappeared into the fog of his own conspiracy theories,” declared the Times’ Maureen Dowd.
“Paranoia seizes Trump’s White House,” reported Politico, noting the suspicion that “career intelligence operatives are working to undermine the new president.”
As we now know, that is exactly what they were doing.
[I]n a remarkable new interview, [Michael Morell, a] CIA veteran who served in the agency from 1980 to 2013, who briefed presidents on the most sensitive issues of the day, and is still a prominent voice in intelligence matters is at least conceding that he can understand why the president feels the way he does.
In August 2016, the retired-but-still-active-in-intelligence-matters Morell decided to abandon decades of nonpartisanship and come out in support of Hillary Clinton. In a New York Times op-ed, he praised Clinton’s experience and called Trump a danger to the nation, a threat to its “foundational values,” and an “unwitting agent” for Russia.
Some of Morell’s former colleagues in the intelligence community took the same step. Gen. Michael Hayden, a former CIA director, blasted Trump as Russia’s “useful fool.” Another former top CIA officer, Michael Vickers, pronounced Trump unfit. And the agency’s then-director, John Brennan, openly clashed with Trump.
These were all men who came out of the nonpolitical tradition of American intelligence. And all chose, for the first time, to publicly take sides in a presidential campaign.
“Let’s put ourselves in Donald Trump’s shoes,” Morell said to Glasser. “So what does he see? Right? He sees a former director of CIA and a former director of NSA, Mike Hayden … criticizing him and his policies. Right? And he would rightfully have said, ‘Huh, what’s going on with the intelligence guys?'”
“And then he sees a former acting director and deputy director of CIA criticizing him and endorsing his opponent,” Morell continued. “And then he gets his first intelligence briefing, after becoming the Republican nominee, and within 24 to 48 hours, there are leaks out of that that are critical of him and his then-national security adviser Mike Flynn.”
“And so, this stuff starts to build, right? And he must have said to himself, ‘What is it with these intelligence guys? Are they political?'”
Of course they are political, although not all are so craven as the appalling John Brennan. As Byron points out, the most remarkable thing about Morell’s confession is his acknowledgement that at the time, it didn’t occur to him that taking sides in a presidential election could be problematic.
It wasn’t just the intelligence agencies. By the time Donald Trump came along, the FBI had been politicized by the Democrats, too:
The first time Trump met the FBI’s then-director, James Comey, was when the intelligence chiefs chose Comey to tell Trump, then the president-elect, about a collection of “salacious and unverified” (Comey’s words) allegations about Trump, compiled by operatives working for the Clinton campaign, that has since become known as the Trump dossier. That surely got Trump off to a good start with the FBI’s intelligence-gathering operation. It was also a clever way for the intel chiefs to push the previously-secret dossier into the public conversation, when news leaked that Comey had briefed the president on it.
Actually, I don’t think President Trump has been as critical of the CIA and the FBI as he should be. The leaders of those agencies have disgraced themselves and let down the American people by putting loyalty to the Democratic Party above all else. Way, way more bureaucrats need to be fired.